Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
SNAP DURING COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic presents a duel threat to public health and the American economy. This has already created significant challenges for Tennesseans who live in food-insecure households and for others who are on the brink of poverty, which is the root cause of hunger. Social distancing, decreased work opportunities, and school and child care closures are exacerbating the struggles of families that were already wondering how they would put their next meal on the table, and do not have the resources to stockpile food during this crisis.
Families of children who receive free or reduced price school meals or attend a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) schools may now receive Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits to help alleviate missed school meals during March, April, and May when children were not in school because of COVID-19. P-EBT has been extended and families with children who are participating in remote learning or attend schools that have had to close due to COVID-19 outbreak may be eligible for P-EBT. Schools have submitted information on students who qualify for August and September. August and September P-EBT funds are being mailed to eligible families now. No action needs to be taken in order to receive these benefits.
PROGRAM CHANGES TO KNOW ABOUT
In response to CDC guidelines recommending social distancing, DHS offices are closed to walk-in appointments. Local offices will have employees available to respond to questions or applications via telephone. Customers can find the number to their local office by going on online here.
Maximum Benefit Granted for April and May – Current SNAP recipients and new SNAP applicants will receive the maximum benefit for April and May. (Maximum SNAP benefit for 3-person household = $509)
3-Month Time Limit is Suspended – The 3-month time limit to SNAP has been lifted for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) who do not meet work requirements in all counties. Individuals between the ages of 18-49, who have lost SNAP because of the time limit rule may reapply. A work requirement exemption will be granted for anyone who is not able to find work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please share the TJC time limit info flyer widely.
Flexibility for Quality Control Interviews – DHS has removed the requirement of in-person interviews at that time. DHS caseworkers are not conducing eligibility interviews during the pandemic.
Due to COVID-19 SNAP offices are encouraging individuals to apply online.
TN SNAP WAIVERS
The TN-DHS has implemented four statewide waivers granted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act:
- SNAP Flexibility for Quality Control Interviews – allows the state to conduct telephone interviews in lieu of face-to face-interviews for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Quality Control (QC) purposes.
- Quality Control Review Extension – gives the state additional time to gather required verification information to complete and submit cases selected for QC review.
- Emergency Allotment for Current SNAP Households – allows the maximum benefit to be distributed to all SNAP recipients for April and May. This includes new SNAP applicants approved in either month.
- Adjustments to Interview Requirements – households are not required to complete an interview prior to approval; waives the in-person interview.
- Hot Foods – WAIVER PENDING – allow hot foods and prepared meals that are “eligible” can be purchased using SNAP benefits.
Waiver details can be found on USDA’s COVID-19 Waivers & Flexibilities website for Tennessee.
Tell your Senators SNAP must be included in the next relief package: It’s easy to contact them with our tool here.
Check out our FeedTN social media toolkit for sample posts here.
Call your representatives: Ask Congress to support SNAP in the next stimulus bill by increasing the minimum benefit (from $16-$30) and adding a 15% increase to maximum allotments.
Thank Congressmen Steve Cohen and Jim Cooper: These Congressmen have signed on in support of provisions to strengthen SNAP in the upcoming stimulus package. Read more here.
Join our SNAP Access group to stay up to date on TN SNAP current issues, best practices, and policy changes: Contact Sarah Henson firstname.lastname@example.org.
- USDA SNAP Waivers for Tennessee: https://www.fns.usda.gov/disaster/pandemic/covid-19/tennessee#snap
- SNAP Pandemic Planning Guidelines: https://fns-prod.azureedge.net/sites/default/files/media/file/SNAP-Pandemic-Planning.pdf
- FRAC COVID-19 updates: https://frac.org/covid-19-updates
- Apply for SNAP on-line or by phone: https://www.tn.gov/humanservices/news/2020/3/16/victims-of-the-march-third-tornadoes-have-an-easier-option-to-apply-for-assistance.html
SNAP OUTREACH PARTNERS
TN Commission on Aging/Disability: Lacey Aviles, Aging Nutrition Coordinator
Contact: 615-253-4161 | Lacey.email@example.com
Second Harvest Middle TN: Kate Pearce, SNAP Coordinator
Contact: 615-782-2071 | Kate.firstname.lastname@example.org
Second Harvest Northeast TN: Alecia Holder, SNAP Outreach Coordinator
Contact: 423-279-0430 ext.216 | email@example.com
West TN Legal Services: Beth Bates, SNAP Project Director
Contact: 731-426-1313 | Beth@wtls.org
Chattanooga Food Bank: Letisia Garcia-Sanchez, SNAP Outreach Coordinator
Contact: 706-330-4562 | Lsanchez@chattfoodbank.org
Knoxville-Knox County CAC: Alice Allen, SNAP Coordinator
Contact: 865-524-2786 | Alice.firstname.lastname@example.org
MidSouth Food Bank (Memphis): Nakilla Jones, SNAP Coordinator
Contact: 901-373–408 | Njones@midsouthfoodbank.org
Univ. Of Memphis: Alison Brown, Student Outreach & Support
Contact: 901-678-3594 | Mbrown37@memphis.edu
United Way Metro Nashville: Tracey Dill, Director of Community Impact
Contact: 615-780-2461 or Dial 2-1-1 | Tracey.email@example.com